Re-dividing tanks...is resin fish-safe?

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by bassbonediva, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    Every time I look at my two divided 10gal tanks, I think how blah they look. Okay, I don't have any decorations in them, but there are quite a few live plants (the two tanks are kind of my grow-out tanks for the weak or new plants I get before they get moved to other tanks when they get too big). I really like the natural look for tanks. My 55gal has three large pieces of wild-collected driftwood and wild-collected river rocks. My Hex5 has wild-collected river rocks as well. So, I was googling divided tanks a couple of days back and came across this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO4KpdCrx_o
    I LOVE the way this guy divided his tank! I really want to do something similar, but I'm kind of at a loss as to how to go about it.

    Both tanks will be divided three ways (one of my VT boys from the 4-way divided 10gal will be getting his own tank very soon, hopefully tomorrow, because he is just way too angry to be in a tank where he can see anyone else). I ran the vid by my dad (he's great at handy stuff and was a general contractor for 25 years, so he usually has awesome, workable, not-too-expensive ideas) and he really liked the way it looked as well. He had the idea of using clear epoxy resin mixed with gravel or sand to build up the walls dividing the "apartments" (they won't be nearly as thick as the ones in the vid) and having a piece of plastic canvas to allow water to flow between the apartments (to help circulate warm water). Each apartment will have it's own dedicated sponge filter "built-in" to the back wall with the airline running down a special tube (most likely a straw) for easy changing. My question is...is epoxy resin fish-safe? We're looking at something like this:  

    My other idea was to use the plastic canvas (like I already have for the DIY dividers) and use aquarium silicone to create kind of mosaic rock walls on either side with a "window" in each divider for water flow, and create another rock wall along the back with the sponge filter "built-in" as described before.

    So...ideas? Thoughts? etc? :;thx
     
  2. lyndra

    lyndra Valued Member Member

    I don't know about the epoxy. I'd be careful with it, what about using a tube of aquarium silicon and doing the same idea? Maybe using a sheet of decider as support because the silicon will be flexible? That way you know it's safe and it won't erode or react in water
     
  3. lyndra

    lyndra Valued Member Member

    Let me explain that in a way that makes sense to not just me , why not mix the silicon with the gravel?

    *gives up* my grasp on English has escaped me, it has been eroded by work:;bmu lol braindead this evening

    :animal0068:Hello. I've merged your posts since they were back to back with no response between.
    Thanks!
    Ken
     




    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  4. Aquarist

    Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

  5. OP
    OP
    bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    Ken, one of my tanks is divided the way that link suggests and honestly, I hate it. I really don't like the way it looks and short of siliconing them in place (which I don't want to do because of the way they looks), I'm finding it almost impossible to keep my one male, Edward, from ramming the divider to try to get at his neighbor, Gordon. He's already knocked the divider over three times (even though I buried the bottom in the gravel and shored gravel up on the sides). That's why he's getting his own tank. But, that doesn't change the fact that I don't like the way the dividers look right now.

    lyndra, the aquarium silicone idea would probably work, but it isn't very cost-effective. I was crunching some numbers and it would take a little under one medium tube of silicone per divider (using the plastic canvas as a support and putting a thin layer of gravel on either side, but making it have "natural" contours like a rock wall would) plus another two tubes for the back. At ~$5 per medium tube, that's $25 just for the silicone. I found the epoxy resin for $6 per 8oz bottle and we estimate it would take two bottles to do the whole tank. (Keep in mind that these estimates are just for one tank...I'm going to be doing two tanks).

    However, I do appreciate that the epoxy resin isn't guaranteed to be fish-safe, so we will pursue another avenue. Thanks!
     
  6. Shawnie

    Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    theres a few contractor members here that can recommend the resin or not...ive seen a few posts where it is NOT recommended as it leaches or breaks down after time...I do like the silicone idea and I think im going to try this too! Id spend the $25 to know the fish are safe.....m sure some others will see this.... I love the vid...thanks for sharing!!
     
  7. Red1313

    Red1313 Fishlore VIP Member

    I like this idea but remember that you're losing space with the thicker dividers... I agree that the plastic craft mesh ones aren't a look that I like, but I think that if you're really having issues I'd be tempted to just silicone a piece of glass down the center then use some black electrical tape down the front to hide the silicone seams.

    I have to say it's a really neat look though.... I'll keep thinking on it and see what other options you could use try to get it...
     
  8. OP
    OP
    bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    Shawnie, believe me, if I could spend the $25 to do it (per tank...and I have two tanks), I would. But, my canister filter needs a new motor and I have other obligations I have to meet. However, since Edward (the overly aggressive male) is going to be getting his own tank, this won't necessarily need to be done immediately, so I could buy the tubes of silicone as I can afford them until I have enough. I also found 10oz tubes of silicone for ~$8, which isn't bad considering a 3oz tube is usually $5. So, buying the larger tubes would be much more cost effective. :)

    Red, I wouldn't make the dividers nearly as thick as that guy has. I was thinking no more than an inch wide (that guy's are more like 3"+ from what my dad and I could figure out). That would take up a little bit more room than the plastic canvas dividers, but it wouldn't be anything too drastic (each male would still be getting about 3 gallons since dividing it with the plastic canvas three ways gives them about 3.3 gallons each).
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  9. cajunfiberco

    cajunfiberco Well Known Member Member

    what about the E-6000 you find in craft stores? Isn't it labeled as non-toxic?
     
  10. bass master

    bass master Well Known Member Member

    Thats a pretty awesome idea for a natural looking divider. If constructing it purely out of silicone and gravel is a little bit too costly, maybe a spin off of this idea could work? Maybe make the core structure of the divider from the styrofoam then coating it in the silicone/gravel mix? Best of luck finding a good solution, hopefully well see some pics of your newly decorated aquarium soon :)
     
  11. Furallicah

    Furallicah Well Known Member Member

    I've worked construction a lot. Anything that isnt designed for the use like an aquarium I wouldnt not use it. Some glues/resins contain some pretty harsh stuff. I would stick to aquarium made glue/resin.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    Oh my heck!! Okay, so I was driving home from "work" tonight (I work at a stable training horses in exchange for leasing one of them, but I don't actually get paid) and I had an epiphany...which is exactly what you posted, bassmaster!! The styrofoam core with silicone/sand mix (I am trying sand first since I have a whole bag of play sand I can use...if it doesn't work, I'll try gravel since I'm going to go sand as the substrate anyway) layered on the outside. I thought about contouring the styrofoam using a file or a Dremel-type tool before coating it with the silicone/sand. :D I'm testing it out right now with the sand to see if it'll work. I'll let you know how ti goes and possibly post pics if I can get any good ones with my cell phone (*still* haven't been able to find my dad's camera...he likes to hide it so I can't "steal" it).:;banaman

    Update!! It worked! I think I can use a thinner layer of silicone/sand even than I used (I was being hasty and used quite a glob of silicone, but tried to smear it around). So, that means I probably won't have to use nearly as much silicone (I'm thinking one 10oz tube will do both tanks). Now, where to find the styrofoam...at least for the divider pieces, I don't want it to be as thick (maybe 1/2" at the most)...for the background, I can layer it and create that rock effect like in the link.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  13. d

    damprye Valued Member Member

    That is a fantastic idea :) can't wait for the pics when you are able to do it
     
  14. OP
    OP
    bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    I floated the piece of styrofoam I used as a test in water overnight to make sure the bond between all the ingredients (styrofoam, silicone and sand) worked. It did!! :D So, now I'm going to hunt for the styrofoam. Any ideas where to find 1/2" thick packing styrofoam in sheets? I've checked Walmart, Office Max and a U-Haul/storage place, but they don't carry anything like that. I know I've seen it for sale, though. Maybe at FedEx/Kinko's or a UPS store?
     
  15. Red1313

    Red1313 Fishlore VIP Member

    Just make sure that the styrofoam is thourghly sealed by the silicone since it will break down over time when exposed to water.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    Yep! Am definitely going to cover every square centimeter of the styrofoam with silicone, even the edges. :) I think I'm going to "copy" what the guy did and put a ledge of slate rocks (or even sandstone) along the tops of the dividers and the back to help hold down the dividers and to act as a further deterant for any of the boys jumping the divider (not that any of them have ever tried except for Edward, but he won't be in there anyway, so...). I so can't wait to get this part started!! :D
     
  17. bass master

    bass master Well Known Member Member

    I think some hobby shops might carry some high quality styrofoam, if theres a hobby lobby near you then you might wanna check that out. Cant wait to see pics of your remodeled tank!
     
  18. OP
    OP
    bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    Ooooh! Didn't think about Hobby Lobby! One just opened here a few months ago (yes, I live in a TINY town! lol) and it kind of intimidates me! I went in there once looking for plastic canvas when I was making the DIY dividers from here and I got SO lost in that store! lol
     
  19. bass master

    bass master Well Known Member Member

    haha I can imagine getting lost in that place... who knew there were so many hobbies :;bmu hopefully theyll have some styrofoam somewhere in there....
     
  20. OP
    OP
    bassbonediva

    bassbonediva Fishlore VIP Member

    I've decided to go with the pigmented Quikcrete idea like in that link instead. I can get a 47# bag of Quikrete for ~$8 and two jars of pigment for less than $5 each, which adds up to the price of about one 10.3oz tube of aquarium silicone (remembering that I'd need AT LEAST two tubes this size to do both tanks). As an added bonus, I can do the background on my son's 29gal paludarium with the leftover Quikrete instead of using the real rocks like I was going to (nothing against real rocks, but they're HEAVY and have the potential to fall and create a huge mess). I'll probably do the real rocks for now in his tank, just so I can get it set up since he'll be here this weekend and I want him to have at least an idea of what it's going to look like, but once I get the styrofoam, I'll redo the background on it. Plus, with the Quikrete I have more options on shapes and such for all the tanks. Squee!!! This is very exciting!
     




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